Caring about Women and Maternal HealthJuly 31, 2009
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times focused his column yesterday on the need to attend to women and maternal health on a global scale. He has an excellent way of calling attention to the social barriers that exist for women everywhere — as well as the limitations and levels of societal control placed over women’s lives — by writing about topics such as rape as a weapon of war, sex slavery, and other pertinent issues . Kristof adds an interesting twist to his writing yesterday: rather than simply advocating for better maternal health, he captures attention by speculating on the vast differences in care that would exist “if men had uteruses.” I’ve thought similar things while studying women’s issues. Would sexual violence be such a pervasive social problem if men were predominantly the victims and survivors? Would we even have to fight to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act if men were the ones who were paid less?
Even though Kristof’s column was written to highlight the problems that exist within the realm of maternal health, it inspires one to think even more broadly about what makes women’s issues less important. Perhaps pondering this will help motivate more and more people to become champions for women and girls everywhere.